EDITORIAL – Cayman Finance: A loud and clear message to Arden and Winston

A pair of elected legislators – George Town MLA Winston Connolly and East End MLA Arden McLean – have publicly accused the Cayman Islands’ largest law firms of criminality and conspiracy, and called for the prosecution of the partners of those firms.

Outside of a strong rejoinder from Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton and a rather restrained statement from the Cayman Islands Law Society, the response from the general financial services industry was, in a word, nonexistent.

After a full week of silence (given the situation, an interminable, and in our minds inexplicable, delay), Cayman’s financial services sector has finally found its voice. The good news is that voice is cohesive, clear and powerful.

Along with today’s front-page news story, we have printed the statement from Cayman Finance, unedited and in its entirety. In this limited space we will draw out a few key paragraphs.

First, skip ahead to the end. The final sentence reads, “we would urge the movers of the Private Member’s Motion to withdraw the Motion as soon as possible to avoid any additional damage to the Financial Services Industry.”

Carefully note the choice of words “any additional damage” – meaning that Cayman’s financial services sector has already suffered damage because of Mr. Connolly’s and Mr. McLean’s reckless behavior.

In other words, although private members’ motions are usually ceremonial, the allegations that this one contains are so sensational, utterly serious, and concern an industry that is so sensitive, that real and deleterious consequences are already accruing.

(Don’t forget that, in addition to the legislative motion itself, they and Bodden Town MLA Alva Suckoo have introduced additional accusations that local law firms have hired private detectives to follow the MLAs around. To date, they have provided no information publicly to support their allegations).

As Cayman Finance points out, the financial services industry “is directly responsible for more than half of the Islands’ economy, more than half of the government’s revenue and employs more Caymanians than any other industry. In light of its significance to the Islands, any damage to this industry could have far reaching implications for the jurisdiction and its people as a whole.”

In direct response to the specific allegations levied by Mr. Connolly and Mr. McLean, Cayman Finance states, “It is our understanding that the practice of Cayman law outside the jurisdiction is not regulated under the current law, and we are not aware of anyone having asserted prior to now that the practice of Cayman law in the foreign offices could result in the partners of Cayman firms committing a crime under Cayman law.”

Local firms have had foreign offices for more than two decades, and those offices directly contribute some US$32 million in revenue to Cayman’s government every year.

The content of the statement is substantial, and the identity of the group that sent it is just as significant. Far from being a mouthpiece for the law firms under attack, Cayman Finance is the official representative and advocate for Cayman’s diverse financial services sector. In addition to prominent attorneys, its board of directors includes leaders in the fields of accounting, banking, corporate services, consulting, directorships, funds, insurance, trusts and more – in partnership with the public sector.

We have long advocated for Cayman Finance to be more assertive and vocal in countering external threats to our industry (for example, politically motivated “blacklists,” misleading “studies” on “tax havens,” and misguided news stories based on offshore leaks).

We are pleased to see the sector finally raise its head, and its voice, to defend itself strongly against this threat from within.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Cayman Compass , good Editorial but maybe you’re missing out somethings . What if the Cayman Islands Law says that it is illegal for a Lawyer to work overseas under Cayman Islands Laws without all legal credentials ? The US $ 32 million that is contributed every year , say that is 100 Lawyers that is contributing that 32 million dollars , then each one of them is making 2 million yearly . Maybe there’s enough lost revenue to the Islands to raise some red flags . I think then when 3 members of the LA might have spoken out about the issue the wrong way , then all kinds of things are possible of happening.

    But again I don’t understand why there wasn’t a emergency meeting held in the LA on day one of this issue , knowing how devastating it could be to the Economy .

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  2. Reading the political news in Cayman is like listening to Fox news in USA. What’s going on anyway, I guess we will soon hear that peoples business was wire tapped too.
    What I truly believe is that if a persons or persons have knowledge of wrong doing by any party, it should not be left to air out and dry, it should be investigated thoroughly.
    In Cayman now-a-days it is no time to advertise Colgate toothpaste when we are threatened with any persons who may want to think they are above the law.
    Beside the fact I though other elections, voting for more than one person posed dirty tricks; this year surpasses all. The one man one vote campaign has become more aggressive and a dog eat dog race. Every body has their vote for sale to the highest bidder; what a shame we have come to this.

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  3. This is the Cayman Islands? Then we should create a sound social and economic way of life. We should take care of our people and create careers with proper education. Once we have done that ,should we as citizens of this country also have the right to participate in its total use. Sould we not have the opportunities to enjoy and expand are businesses and way of life? Then what is the reason that Law firms not have had new Caymanian citizens as partners in years? I believe it should be investigated.
    If asking an investigation to find out Caymanians being a partner is rumoured to close up shop and leave the jurisdiction then where will they go? Surely wherever a firm picks to go will have the same procedure. Opportunities for its citizens to excel in their firm. Go Gentlemen ask the question Ifor one support you. No firm should fear the the investigation if they have just cause.

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